Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas – and a yoghurt-cumin dressing!

This was my first encounter with butternut squash. The first date. The make or break. First impression is everything, right? Pumpkins, hokkaidos and butternutsquash(es?) are not regular guests in Norwegian supermarkets. Actually, have I ever seen either one? Well, yeah…I have, now that I come to think about it. Around halloween it´s possible to get your hands on a pumpkin in the bigger supermarkets, but I think that´s pretty much it. And that´s just the last couple of years. Every time some new food arrives, I get very eager to try it. Especially with fruits and vegetables. I don´t wanna miss out on anygthing! What if that weird-looking/ weird-named thing is the new apple? OMG! There´s no time to loose! Even so, I yet have to try a regular pumpkin. They´re so expensive, and like I said, only available during halloween… But now that I´ve moved to Denmark, it´s another story. Vegetables are cheap, and in abundance all year round! Even pumpkins! But the thing is, I´m living alone here, and the pumpkins are too gigantic for one person and my mini-fridge, so I´ve put that on hold. And that´s where the butternut squash comes in! I saw my roomie bake this thing (which I didn´t even know what was), but I imagined it would be really good. So a few days later, I went out to get what appeared to be something called butternut squash. Okeydoke. So far so good. Now – what to do with this thing? I wanted to roast it, and after some googling around the net, I found a tasty-looking recipe from this lovely blog. I replaced the farro with bulgur, but apart from that, I followed it precisely. And what can I say? What a vegetable! So sweet, so nicely coloured and totally perfect in this dish! I´ve already made it about 5 times! So off you go! Whether you´re well acquainted with butternut squash or not, give this recipe a go! It tasty, yummy and makes you feel all good inside.

Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas (recipe from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups bulgur
2 tablespoons chopped chili
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°F. (200 C) Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bulgur in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

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Blueberry scones

It´s easter!
That means I´m home back in Bergen, I have some time to kill while everyone´s at work, and later I have some more time because of the holidays which is perfect for some staying in-activities, such as baking. And, I have people to feed, plus room in the freezer for whatever leftovers there might be! Oh, the opportunities! And not to mention, I have a lot of stuff, like berries, in the freezer, so I don´t have to get out buying overpriced supermarket-berries. Or getting wet. And like I said, it´s easter, which means some easter-treats has to be made. Only in case the easter bunny doesn´t show up, of course.

Today is a perfect day for baking. The rain is pouring down, the shops are closed, and although my boyfriend was supposed to start his holidays today, he had to arrange a quick meeting in a café. How rude! Taking clients to cafés instead of me – on our holiday! Well, there´s only one thing to do. If I can´t come to the café, the café must come to me. Which is actually a better option in this weather. Now I only had to choose a café-like snack. Like always I´ve done some baking-research before I got home. The list of recipes to try, I´ve realised is a never-ending project, as people like myself keep adding tempting recipes, and I keep both buying and borrowing cookbooks. I don´t make it easy for myself. So many recipes, so little time! And the fact that I´m on a daily search for recipes – without any other reason than just for the sake of it – well, I better get baking!

Starting with this scone recipe. These scones immediately made it to the top of my baking list, pushing down brownies, pound cake and other things that have been lined up for quite some time – poor things. But sometimes, you see a picture of something so appealing, you can´t get your mind around anything else, and there´s only one thing to do. Bake it. Get it out of the system. See if they taste as good as they looked at the picture. And of course, compare yours to the original. Uglier, prettier? It´s usually the first. But these turned out quite decent, if I may say so.

Taste wise – well, I don´t have anything to compare with, but I thought they were pretty darn good! The recipe calls for partly whole wheat flour, which I substituted for rye flour. (That´s what I had) That made them more filling and hearty, without feeling overly “healthified”. They´re still sweet and moist, but just perfectly balanced. You could easily have these for breakfast – or any other time of the day!
I enjoyed mine fresh from the oven with a cup of tea for a late lunch. I couldn´t resist adding some butter (can I ever?) – butter melting into warm baked goods – seriously, how can anyone resist?
Even so, they are flavourful enough on their own, so they don´t necessarily need anything. But I imagine a dollop of whipped cream wouldn´t hurt either. So you can dress it up or down, and serve it as breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert! Or all of the above. Go crazy!



Berry Almond Scones
(slightly adapted from thevintagemixer)

1 stick (8 tbsp)butter, cold, plus 1 Tb melted
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
½ cup milk
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 cup whole wheat/rye pastry flour
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Instructions

Yields 8 generous blues-killing scones
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 220 C/ 425˚ F.
Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.
Whisk together the milk and Greek yogurt in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. In another bowl, combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.

Sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Fold up the edges of the dough up so that all of the berries are concealed inside the dough. The dough should resemble a ball. Flatten the dough and gently form into a circle (about 7 inches by 7 inches). Using a sharp, floured knife, or a sharp dough scraper/chopper cut the circle into 8 equal triangles (like pie wedges). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar or more sliced almonds. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at 10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long!